Passionate about sculptures and 20th century artist's furniture, Florian Baudenon is an “insider” antique dealer. After having occupied various booths in the four corners of Paul Bert Serpette, this antique dealer knows the market like the back of his hand and has not finished surprising you ...
Tell us about your background
I started this profession in 1995, at the age of 23, thanks to the antique dealer Olivier Jean Elie. Antique dealer for 20 years, Olivier took me under his wing and trained me in the profession for three years. We then joined forces and sold mainly Art Deco pieces and 1940 furniture. In parallel with my apprenticeship, I quickly started making my first purchases, with varying degrees of success. "Mistakes" allowing to learn and successes to get caught up in the game !
We then moved to Paul Bert Serpette in 1998 and turned to pieces from the 70s. Passion took over and my desire to discover new artist's pieces just kept growing. Pieces by designers like Claude de Musac, Maria Pergay, Marie Claude de Fouquiere, and so many others appeared in the alleys. The success was not announced but we liked it, a matter of taste.
Today, after two years of absence, I am back at Paul Bert Serpette, trying to learn from the youngest, a real source of inspiration. Seeing new motivated antique dealers adapting to communication tools and redesigning some aspects of the profession encourages the older generations to evolve with the times. A passionate antique dealer is a hard worker. I also have my 18-year-old stepson by my side, Pablo, very sensitive to the profession of antique dealer. I believe I have passed on my passion to him ...
What does the profession of antique dealer inspire you?
The very essence of this profession lies in the endless quest for renewal. There is nothing more exciting than finding a piece you have never seen before. The pleasure of discovering an object, of carrying out the necessary research to its authentication, to understand its use, aesthetics or current. Documentation is indeed a part of the job that has always amused me a lot, even at the time "that the under 20s cannot know ", without the Internet ...
I don't see myself doing anything else, the freedom offered by the profession of antique dealer cannot be found elsewhere. The call of the profession is stronger and resounds in each one of us. The contact with customers is so enriching, beyond the pleasure of the purchase lies the pleasure of the exchange.
The ultimate delight is to sell the “right object” to the “right person”. Nothing is more rewarding to me than to see a customer amazed by a piece, someone who will know how to enhance it and place it in the right setting. That is when the customer-dealer exchange takes all its meaning and contributes to the magic of the profession.
Why Paul Bert Serpette?
I feel good in this market, the clientele is receptive to my selection. Paul Bert Serpette is also in constant evolution. The alleys welcome new antique dealers with a different view of the art market with new working methods. I could almost say that they are more serious than we were twenty years ago. We will remain THE flea market of Saint Ouen, as long as we continue to offer antique objects and make sure to honor our profession.
What is your specialty ?
I present XXth century furniture with a slight penchant for sculpture and artist's furniture... It is imperative for me to love the pieces I sell, each of them retraces my journey in some way.
My booth is therefore mainly composed of furniture from the 1950s to 1970s. I am not looking for "names" but objects. I take much more pleasure in selling an object to a client captivated by its beauty rather than by its Designer.
Show us your latest crush
An illuminating sculpture by Serge Mansau dating from the 1970s. It comes from the designer's own workshop. This object brings me back to my first loves: the marriage of plexiglass and metal. I had never seen this "lamp" and to be able to chase a nugget like this one constitutes pure happiness. I am convinced that there is still a multitude of artists and pieces to discover ...